sociology chapter 8

____ a structured ranking of entire groups of people that perpetuates unequal economic rewards and power in a society.
Stratification
salaries and wages
Income
a term encompassing all a person’s material assets, including land, stocks, and other types of property.
wealth
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Look at the four general systems of stratification examined ——as ideal types useful for purposes of analysis.
slavery, castes, estates, and social classes
social position assigned to a person by society without regard for the person’s unique talents or
ascribed status
____a social position that a person attains largely through his or her efforts.
Achieved Status
enslaved individuals are owned by other people, who treat these human beings as property, just as if they were household pets or appliances. In the United States and Latin America, where slavery was an ascribed status, racial and legal barriers prevented the freeing of slaves. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibits slavery in all its forms. Yet more people are enslaved today than at any point in world history. Both these situations are likely to involve the transnational crime of trafficking in humans.
slavery
are hereditary ranks that are usually religiously dictated and that tend to be fixed and immobile. ____ membership is an ascribed status. Each ____ is quite sharply defined, and members are expected to marry within that ___. In India there are four major castes, called varnas. A fifth category of outcastes, referred to as the untouchables, represents 16% of the population; its members are considered so lowly and unclean as to have no place within this stratification system. The government now refers to the untouchables as scheduled _____. The untouchables themselves prefer Dalit (“the repressed”), a term that communicates their desire to overcome their disadvantage status.
Caste
or feudalism, required peasants to work land leased to them by nobles in exchange for military protection and other services. The basis for the system was the nobles’ ownership of land, which was critical to their superior and privileged status.
estate
social ranking based primarily on economic position in which achieved characteristics can influence social mobility. Sociologist Daniel Rossides uses a five-class model to describe the class system of the U.S: upper class, upper-middle class, lower-middle class, working class, and lower class.
social classes
2% of the people in the U.S are upper class. This group is limited to the very wealthy, who associate in exclusive clubs and social circles. The lower class, consisting of approximately 20 to 25% of the population, disproportionately consists of Blacks, Hispanics, single mothers with dependent children, and people who cannot find regular work or must make do with low-paying work. Ascribed statuses such as race and disability clearly influence a person’s wealth and social position. The economic John Kenneth Galbraith observed that “of all classes the rich are the most noticed and the least studied”.
Upper and Middle Class
___ about 10 to 15% of the population, includes professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and architects. The lower-middle class, about 30 to 35% of the population, includes less affluent professionals (such as elementary school teachers and nurses), owners of small businesses, and a sizable number of clerical workers. These data mean that the US is moving toward a “bipolar income distribution”. That is, a broadly based middle class is slowly being replaced by two growing groups of rich and poor. Several factors have contributed to the shrinking size of the middle class:
1. Disappearing opportunities for those with little education.
2. Global competition and rapid advances in technology.
3. Growing dependence on the temporary workforce.
4. The rise of new growth industries and nonunion workplaces, like fast-food restaurants
middle class
—about 40 to 45% of the population—as people who hold regular manual or blue-collar jobs. Of the five classes, the working class is declining noticeably in size.
working class
People do not tend to identify with or see themselves as members of a specific social class. Younger adults, women, and African Americans were most likely to hold this view. The rich were just as likely as the poor to agree with the existence of class conflict.
class welfare
The plight of the working class made him feel that it was imperative to strive for changes in the class structure of society. In ____ view, social relations during any period of history depend on who controls the primary mode of economic production, such as land or factories. . For ____, class consciousness was part of a collective process in which the proletariat comes to identify the bourgeoisie as the source of its oppression. _____ rather utopian view, classes and oppression will cease to exist in the post-revolutionary workers’ state. The ____ approach to the study of class is useful in stressing the importance of stratification as a determinant of social behavior and the fundamental separation in many societies between two distinct groups, the rich and the poor.
karl marx view on class differentiation
___ an economic system in which the means of production are held largely in private hands and the main incentive for economic activity is the accumulation of profits.
Capitalism
or capitalist class owns the means of production, such as factories and machinery
Bourgeoisie
is the working class. According to Marx, exploitation of the proletariat will inevitably lead to the destruction of the capitalist system, because the workers will revolt.
Proletariat
: a subjective awareness of common vested interests and the need for collective political action to bring about social change.
Class Consciousness
: an attitude held by members of a class that does not accurately reflect their objective position. For Marx, class consciousness was part of a collective process in which the proletariat comes to identify the bourgeoisie as the source of its oppression. Marx’s rather utopian view, classes and oppression will cease to exist in the post-revolutionary workers’ state. The Marxist approach to the study of class is useful in stressing the importance of stratification as a determinant of social behavior and the fundamental separation in many societies between two distinct groups, the rich and the poor.
False Consciousness
___ insisted that no single characteristic totally defines a person’s position within the stratification system. Instead, he identifies three distinct components of stratification: class, status, and power. Class: refers to a group of people who have a similar level of wealth and income. Weber argued that the actions of individuals and groups cannot be understood solely in economic terms. Status Group: refer to people who have the same prestige or lifestyle. An individual gains status through membership in a desirable group. But status is not the same as economic class standing. Power: the ability to exercise one’s will over others. Power stems from membership in particularly influential groups, such as corporate boards of directors, government bodies, and interest groups. Conflict theorists generally agree that two major sources of power—big business and government—are closely interrelated. Each factor influences the other two, and in fact the rankings on these three dimensions often tend to coincide.
Max Weber
___ refers to a group of people who have a similar level of wealth and income. Weber argued that the actions of individuals and groups cannot be understood solely in economic terms.
Class
___ refer to people who have the same prestige or lifestyle. An individual gains status through membership in a desirable group. But status is not the same as economic class standing.
Status Group
____ the ability to exercise one’s will over others._____ stems from membership in particularly influential groups, such as corporate boards of directors, government bodies, and interest groups. Conflict theorists generally agree that two major sources of ____—big business and government—are closely interrelated. Each factor influences the other two, and in fact the rankings on these three dimensions often tend to coincide
power
Both Karl Marx and Max Weber looked at inequality primarily from a macro-sociological perspective, considering the entire society or even the global economy.____, as well as economists, have long been interested in the importance of social class in shaping a person’s lifestyle
Interactionist perspective
they purchase goods not to survive but to flaunt their superior wealth and social standing. At the other end of the spectrum, behavior that is judged to be typical of the lower class is subject not only to ridicule but even to legal action.
Conspicuous Consumption
____, in his sociocultural evolution approach, described how economic systems change as their level of technology becomes more complex, beginning with hunting and gathering and culminating eventually with industrial society. As_____ argued, the allocation of surplus goods and services controlled by those with wealth, status, and power reinforces the social inequality that accompanies stratification systems.
Gerhard Lenski perspective
a measuring of social class is viewed largely as a statistical category. The key to the objective method is that the researcher, rather than the person being classified, identifies an individual’s class position. The first step in using this method is to decide what indicators or causal factors will be measured objectively, whether wealth, income, education, or occupation.
Objective Method
___ refers to the respect and admiration that an occupation holds in a society.
Prestige
____ refers to the reputation that a specific person has earned within an occupation.
Esteem
Studies of social class tended to neglect the occupations and incomes of women as determinants of social rank. One approach is to focus on the individual (rather than the family or household) as the basis for categorizing a woman’s class position. Thus, a woman would be classified according to her own occupational status rather than that of her spouse. Another feminist effort to measure the contribution of women to the economy reflects a more clearly political agenda.
gender and occupational prestige
Another complication in measuring social class is that advances in statistical methods and computer technology have multiplied the factors used to define class under the _____
objective method
____ a measure of social class that is based on income, education, and occupation. Whatever the technique used to measure class, the sociologist is interested in real and often dramatic differences in power, privilege, and opportunity in a society. The study of stratification is a study of inequality.
Socioeconomic Status
By all measures, income in the US is distributed unevenly. “If we made an income pyramid out of building blocks, with each layer portraying $500 of income, the peak would be far higher than Mount Everest, but most people would be within a few feet of the ground”. We can gain additional insight into income inequality in the US by looking at the relative placement of households within the income distribution. Globalization is often blamed for this growing inequality, because it has forced less skilled workers to compete with lower paid foreign-born workers. Wealth is distributed much more unevenly than income in the US.
income and wealth
Approximately one out of every nine people in the US lives below the _____ line established by the federal government. One contributor to the US high poverty rate has been the large number of workers employed at minimum wage. But in terms of its real value adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage has frequently failed to keep pace with the cost of living.
poverty
This problem is evident even in government programs that conceive of poverty in either ____ or relative terms.
absolute
___ refers to the minimum level of subsistence that no family should be expected to live below. One commonly used measure of _____ is the federal government’s poverty line, a money income figure that is adjusted annually to reflect the consumption requirements of families based on their size and composition. The poverty line serves as an official definition of which people are poor.
Absolute Poverty
is a floating standard of deprivation by which people at the bottom of a society, whatever their lifestyle, are judged to be disadvantaged in comparison with the nations as a whole. Although the current poverty measure does consider family size, it does not consider a household’s location, whether in a relatively expensive city like New York or in a less expensive rural area. Nor does it consider whether a householder pays rent or a mortgage installment, lives at home or with someone else.
Relative Poverty
An increasing proportion of the poor people of the US have been women, many of whom are divorced or never-married mothers. In 1959, female householders accounted for 26 percent of the nation’s poor; by 2010, that figure had risen to 51 percent referred to as _______. About half of all women living in poverty in the US are in transition, coping with an economic crisis caused by the departure, disability, or death of a husband. Conflict theorists and other observers trace the higher rates of poverty among women to three distinct factors: the difficulty in finding affordable child care, sexual harassment, and sex discrimination in the labor market.
Feminization of Poverty
William Julius Wilson used the term _____ to describe the long-term poor who lack training and skills. Although not all of them are poor, living in such disadvantaged neighborhoods means limited educational opportunities, greater exposure to crime and health risks, reduced access to private investment, and higher prices for goods and services. Scholars are predicting that the recent economic downturn may swell the ranks of the underclass, increasing the proportion of the US population that they represent. Blacks and Latinos are more likely than Whites to be persistently poor.
underclass
___ that is, their opportunities to provide themselves with material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experiences. Life chances are reflected in measures such as housing, education, and health. In times of danger, the affluent and powerful have a better chance of surviving than people of ordinary means. Class position also affects people’s vulnerability to natural disasters. Wealth, status, and power may not ensure happiness, but they certainly provide additional ways of coping with problems and disappointments.
life chances
____ refers to the movement of individuals or groups from one position is a society’s stratification system to another.
Social Mobility
____ implies that the position of each implies that the position of each individual is influenced by his or her achieved status. Such a system encourages competition among members of society.
open system
allows little or no possibility of individual social mobility. The slavery and caste systems of stratification are examples of closed systems. In such societies, social placement is based on ascribed statuses, such as race or family background, which cannot be changed.
closed system
the movement of an individual from one social position to another of a different rank.
Horizontal Mobility. Vertical Mobility
____ involves changes in the social position of children relative to their parents. Because education contributes significantly to upward mobility, any barrier to the pursuit of advanced degrees can definitely limit intergenerational mobility. Family incomes are slightly higher than in the last generation, but only because women have moved into the paid labor force to supplement their husbands’ earnings
Intergenerational Mobility
_____ involves changes in social position within a person’s adult life.
Intragenerational Mobility
_____ has been common among males. Second, although there is a great deal of mobility in the US, much of it is minor. That is, people who reach an occupational level above or below that of their parents usually advance or fall back only one or two out of a possible eight occupational levels.
Occupational mobility
____ Another conclusion of both studies is that education plays a critical role in social mobility. Furthermore, education represents an important means of intergenerational mobility. Moreover, intergenerational mobility is declining, since there is no longer such a stark difference between generations.
The Impact of Education
_____ The cumulative disadvantage of discrimination plays a significant role in the disparity between the two groups’ experiences. Not surprisingly, African Americans are more likely than Whites to experience downward intergenerational mobility, and less likely to move up the social ladder.
The Impact of Race and Ethnicity
_____ Studies of mobility, even more than those of class, have traditionally ignored the significance of gender, but some research findings are now available that explore the relationship between gender and mobility. Their withdrawal violates an assumption common to traditional mobility studies: that most people will aspire to upward mobility and seek to make the most of their opportunities. Gender remains an important factor in shaping social mobility.
The Impact of Gender

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